Saturday, November 22, 2014
Thanksgiving looks to be at the Hotel Santa Fe, because of this really fine menu, which includes oysters.
When I left the US Navy in 1987 and lived near Baltimore, Maryland, I learned that Chesapeake Bay oysters sucked. The bay had no tide to speak of, the water was brackish, and it was warm. All bad conditions for producing tasty oysters.
So I would drive to Cape Cod to get oysters, and to visit my parents. I'd get my oysters from Mr. Smith, who ran the oyster business on Waquoit bay. I'd load up a cooler from the milk cartons hanging off his floating dock where he stored them in the water, and he would charge me five dollars or so depending on what, I don't know. Then Dad and he and I would stand around and talk about things for a while.
There is disagreement about where the best oysters come from, because just like grapes, there is watery terroir associated with where an oyster was grown. Cotuit, my hometown, was for years said to be the finest place to grow an oyster. Now, it's a polluted mess and oysters grown there must be harvested and relocated to clean waters to get purified. Wellfleet has a good reputation. If I had my druthers I'd go with Mr. Smith's Waquoit Bay. It has fast tides, high salinity, and every oyster I've eaten from there was a lovely thing.
Instead, I'll be at the Hotel Santa Fe on Thursday, having oysters from God knows where, the first in more than a few years, and I'll be grateful to eat a raw shellfish in the desert no matter where it came from. Plus some prime rib, and the company of good friends, Should be a perfect day.